As the Eagles file in from playing out in the Texas heat, they gather their lunches, wash hands, warm up food if needed, and head to the lunch mats laid around the studio. Here you’ll find groupings of mixed ages, from 4-14, eating and talking with one another.
They don’t segregate. There isn’t a particular mat for a specific age group. It’s not uncommon to see a middle school Eagle choosing to have lunch and conversation with one of the Sparks, our early learners.
After they’ve eaten, they’ll clean up their lunches and often engage in a game of ninja or frogger around the discussion rug. They will play, laugh, and sometimes disagree but quickly jump back into play.
This is the beauty of multi-age learning.
Our studios are intentionally not grouped by ages or by traditional classroom designated grades. The benefits for the learners can’t be denied.
For the younger learners, they get to glean from the understanding and wisdom of their older peers. When they are struggling through a concept in 5th-grade math, they sign up to collaborate with a middle schooler who has already mastered that concept.
This helps build trust and confidence for the younger Eagle.
For older learners, they get to reinforce what they’ve already learned. Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough.” Having the opportunity to lead and teach the younger learners, helps to solidify the information for the older one.
Not having separated groups also helps build compassion, understanding, patience, and essential social skills.
This week we’ve observed beautiful relationships forming between the studios. The tribe as a whole is coming together, united under their shared values.
For us, this is the best and most important kind of learning.